Sunday, February 5, 2012

Competition versus Collaboration

Some people believe that it is in our very nature to be competitive with each other. We bring children up starting competitiveness early.  Survival of the fittest is the goal and mastering all somehow will put us at the top. The question might be asked what we get when we get to the top.  But perhaps a better question would be, is it really in our nature, in our DNA, to be competitive with each other – domination over collaboration? I do not think our essence, our authentic self, thrives on competitiveness.

Competition implies someone needs to win and someone losses.  Collaboration means we use a win-win approach working together to create.  Competition implies separateness.  Collaboration implies togetherness.  Which of these do you place value on? If you are competitive, it would be difficult to be collaborative as it would be a value for you to be on top, stand out above the rest. If your value is on being collaborative you don’t have to be on top as you aren’t participating collaboratively to be on top.  Rather, all are acknowledged for their part in the process.  Value is on what each person brings to the table that is unique and worthwhile.

Studies have been done researching this vary question by looking at nature observing populations from insects to primates. Surprisingly, what has been found is that it is the collective majority that makes the decisions for when the herd goes to the watering hole to drink, or when the flock makes a change in the direction they are flying. And it was only “after” the 51st being (more than half) crossed over the line that a consensus was found, dictating to the rest of the herd, the flock, or the insects that would change the direction of the group.

Perhaps survival of the fittest relates to the one that loves, gives, and cares the most; the one that is able to be the most collaborative. We need to learn to be with each other in a way that promotes togetherness and oneness, not separateness. It is only with our willingness to live in this way that we will be able to stop the unloving acts of the world that promote separateness. Separateness is a lonely place to be even if it is on top! Take time today to step into understanding, care, and appreciation of others. Work with each other to use the inner gifts within each of us to collectively make a difference.

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